London, England, South of France, And All Points Between They Know About Your Man

I spent the Spring of 2007 living in Florence, Italy. Besides iced coffee and hot American guys, the thing I really missed was hip hop. With a shaky internet connection and little to no knowledge of/access to music steaming sites, I was left with the few hundred songs stacked in my iPod to get me through my four months there. The time lag between American hip hop culture and European hip hop culture was around 6 years, at the very least. Coolio frequently played in the club, and international travelers got as excited about it as we did when Kendrick dropped his “Control” verse. I have a distinct memory of getting in a local promoter’s Audi with some friends where he had Get Rich Or Die Trying videos looping on his dash cam. He was very proud and even pointed it out to us like it was the most exclusive shit he’d ever gotten his hands on.

Fast forward to 2013. I was attending a Chris Brown x Reebok shoe giveaway for work and my boss asked me to give her brother a ride to the event. He was 17 years old and visiting for the week from London. I agreed, not quite sure what I would have in common with a teenager from the other side of the pond. Two minutes into the hour long ride to Crenshaw High School, I got my answer. J. Cole, Jay-Z, and Kanye had all recently dropped albums and were in heavy rotation in my car. As song after song played, I heard him rapping verse after verse. I was shocked. “How do you know all this music,” I asked him. “It literally just came out.” “Uhhhhh, we get music the same way you do,” he replied. “I’ve been listening to these for weeks now.” I switched it up and put in a Meek Mill mixtape. Again, he knew every song. No matter what I played, he knew.

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Who Do U Believe In?

One of the homies stopped by the office today while we were discussing the Ferguson riots. This led to a discussion about the LA riots where he was reminiscing about scoring his first Sega Genesis during the looting. He mentioned Tupac participating in the riots followed by a long story about how they met and the depth of their relationship. I asked him what the craziest thing he saw Pac do was, but after a brief pause switched my question to ask him about the most heartwarming thing he ever saw Tupac do. Both valid questions, but I feel like a lot of times Pac’s crazier moments make more highlight reels than his compassionate ones.

His face lit up when I asked this question. He told me about one day when he and Pac were riding down Sunset. Pac heard over the radio that there was a sick child whose dream it was to meet Janet Jackson. Apparently Janet couldn’t make it or could only spend a short period of time with the child because of scheduling. Pac made a few phone calls and ending up visiting the child personally. He spent the entire day with her and before her unfortunate passing, the girl had removed all her Janet posters and had plastered her wall with Pac. That’s just the kind of guy he was. This was never publicized because it was never about that for Tupac. His heart was so big and his intentions were so pure and positive.

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West Coast Soul Vibe

I was scrolling through the Reckless Girls Instagram mentions at work one day when I stumbled upon a photo of a girl in our Thug Wife T-shirt captioned, “I swear I was Pac’s girl in a past life #TupacTuesdays”. Having a similar affinity/obsession for Tupac, I followed the link in her bio to her blog, The about me section read, “Think Tupac, a WestCoastSoul isn’t necessarily someone who is Cali born x raised, but he/she is definitely a revolutionary with an open mind and a sharp tongue. They know the motto – hustle, create, inspire and build your empire. Impossible to stop. One hand always towards the sky, reach for your dreams, put up a fighting fist, one for the love, two for the peace or twist that shit and throw ya dubs up.” Boom. Who is this girl? I had to find out. I sent her a brief message admiring her blog and lamenting on all of our similarities including our love for culture, for hip hop, and in particular, for Tupac. I sent her some Y&R product and was pleasantly surprised a few weeks later when she posted a dope photo shoot she had styled and modeled for wearing our clothes. We made plans to meet up and the rest is history.

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MMG ~ Master Manifesting G’s




“There is something you need to know about the mastermind. In order to understand the overall concept and apply it to achieve success in all that you do. You must know that you can borrow other people’s knowledge, achievements, life experiences, and even their personal resources in order to execute your own life goals. By adapting this one idea, you can achieve more in a short time than you could in a lifetime otherwise…I said boss and I live that!” – Rick Ross – Mastermind Intro


When I heard Rick Ross’s latest intro a few months ago, it hit me that this is exactly what I have been doing my whole life with hip hop. I have been soaking up stories, confidence, ambition, passion, and inspiration from my favorite artists and using them to fuel my own life goals. Growing up, I spent hours every day ingesting stories from 2Pac, Biggie, Nas, Jay, Big Pun, AZ, Big L, Kanye, Jada, Mobb Deep, and many more. I began to see a life for myself outside of the norm. I longed to experience the things I was hearing about every day in music and the music itself gave me the courage to pursue this dream. When you listen to someone overflowing with passion, courage, and charisma over and over you begin to adopt those qualities in yourself.

Before moving to LA, I was listening to MMG heavy every day when I worked out. The music made me feel a certain type of way. I was inspired. I was happy. I was ready. I was being injected with confidence, clarity, and purpose. Ross’s calm, cool delivery paired with his impeccable beat selection made me feel like success was eminent. Meek’s tenacity and ambition poured out of his lyrics and into my mind and heart. I literally felt changes in my body listening to this music. While I was watching an interview one day, I heard Ross say that when he met Wale at King of Diamonds, Wale was by himself. Ross remarked how he thought it was dope that he had rolled solo. Highly respecting his opinion, I decided that his was something I needed to adopt. When I moved to LA, I didn’t know a soul. I began going places alone and testing myself, first a nice restaurant, then a club, then several industry events. There were times when I was uncomfortable, but I pushed through it knowing how important it was to develop this skill. After being consistent with this for over a year, I can now confidently walk into any room, party, event, etc. alone and feel totally at ease. The opportunities that have presented themselves in many of these situations have been unbelievable. I’ve been able to experience life in a way I never had before because I don’t have to worry about relying on other people. I am eternally grateful for watching that interview and really taking to heart and applying what Ross said in my own life. Adopting Ross’s knowledge and Wale’s experience significantly changed my life.

Dreamchasers and Dreamchasers 2 contain many of my inspirational anthems I listened to heavy when I was moving to LA. I’ve listened to “Dreamchasers,” “Big Dreams,” and “On My Way” hundreds, if not thousands of times. Meek is a master manifester, as is Ross. Meek has literally spoken everything into existence from day one and I’ve watched closely as his words and beliefs have created the exact lifestyle he spoke about from jump. When Dreams & Nightmares came out, I bought the hard copy and rode around the Hollywood Hills until I had ingested the album from top to bottom. I was filled with gratitude listening to “Maybach Curtains,” reflecting on how far I had come in my journey and was motivated by “Young Kings,” to keep filling my circle with only the best. I felt like a queen listening to “Young Kings,” and often blasted it with the top down riding down Sunset. I’ve had guys roll up like, “I’ll be your young king”. LOL I used  to ride around incanting (saying over and over with feeling and emotion) “I’m a Boss,” at full volume. Within weeks, many of my behaviors changed. I started speaking up and demanding respect from people with whom I had let things slide in the past. I began, completely out of the blue, drinking Macallan 12 and thoroughly enjoying it. Many of my preferences changed and I began embodying what I had been incanting. When DC3 came out, I took it as a personal challenge when Meek asked, “The world is yours and everything in it. You gon’ go get it?” and happily reflected while agreeing that “I used to pray for times like this”. It’s an indescribable emotion to be in your dream city, dream industry, surrounded by people amazing beyond your wildest dreams and realize that you (and God) created this life. You had the courage to pursue something that you used to not even want to speak aloud because people would make fun of you for it. I truly don’t know if I would have had the courage to chase my dreams without the dreamchasing music I have been blessed with from my favorite artists.

When I heard Lil’ Snupe freestyle, “Mama and Daddy, they had a king for real. Man, I swear I’m living all my people’s dreams for real. I do my thing right now. My Daddy ain’t livin’ dreams. Mama ain’t livin’ dreams. Granny ain’t livin dreams. Cousins ain’t livin’ dreams, so you know what I’ma do? I’ma live out all through Snupe, we gonna rock,” I was moved to tears. I saw how Meek had given this young, super talented kid the opportunity of a lifetime. It’s one thing to live your dream, but the masters understand that sharing this with others is the greatest gift of all. After his passing, I was watching videos of them in the studio where another young kid came in to rap for Meek. There was such a positive energy in the room, an energy of love, passion, ambition, loyalty, and respect. I’ve been around so many negative environments and watching this video opened up a whole new possibility in my mind of how my experiences could be moving forward. Hip hop is laden with negativity, but there are so many positive aspects that are highly motivational. To come from nothing, achieve your goals, then give back to your community with resources, inspiration, and motivation is the ultimate fete.

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On My Way


The last month was one of the hardest months I’ve had in years. After being Divinely inspired to quit my current job at a music management company, I spent the last few weeks grappling with my identity, my purpose, and all of my fears and insecurities. There have been Godly whispers my entire life about what I should be doing, what my purpose is, and how I can be of service. I have followed those whispers everywhere from Atlanta to  NYC to  LA, and many places in between. Constantly throwing myself into new waters and taking risks has helped me to grow immeasurably. I have learned to embrace uncertainty and I’ve seen the Universe provide for me over and over, without fail. I have spent the better part of the last year the happiest I have ever been.

I was at church one Sunday and Devon Franklin was the guest preacher. He did an amazing sermon about the chains that are holding us back in life, the emotional baggage and limiting beliefs that block us from living out our highest potential. I began to pray that my chains would be revealed to me and that those areas would be healed. When you pray a prayer that big, it’s important to be prepared for the consequences and to see your prayer being answered as a blessing. Easier said than done. A few weeks later Pastor Toure spoke about releasing things and leaving room for God to walk into our lives. The sermon spoke to me so strongly and I knew in that moment I had to leave my job. The next week a guest pastor came in and did an entire sermon about asking God to use us, to be of service in the world.

The combination of the messages I received in the three services hit me like a ton of bricks. I began to receive direction on what I was supposed to do, but in the weeks following me leaving my job, I fell into a deep depression. It didn’t last long, but for someone who has spent the better part of the last few years extremely positive and happy, it felt absolutely debilitating. I went back and forth from being sure of the steps I should take and the direction I should move in, to feeling absolutely paralyzed and unsure of the next step to take. What I realized was is that I have been living a life that is not up to my full potential out of fear. Most people are. In fact, it is so normal to do this in our society that the people who do live out their highest potential are often seen as crazy until they are “successful” by societal terms and then they are embraced. However, in today’s globally connected society, those that do become publicly successful are then both idolized and tormented by the general public. Our “stars” are the targets of hatred, slander, jealousy, corruption, and scandal. With all the negative news, reality TV, and pop culture obsession in the world, there’s no wonder so many of us are living in fear.

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Victory Lap

I’ve been wanting to start a blog for years. I didn’t do it because of fear: fear of being made fun of, fear of it not being perfect, fear of failure. As I was encouraging my best friend to document and share her life in Hawaii, I felt the strong urge to remind her to tell her truth and to just let it flow. When we try to make things perfect, we can try to force creation from the mind instead of letting it flow through us through our divine inspiration and intuition. Things can sound stiff and unnatural. Above all, the most important part is that you begin creating.

At the Nip$ey Hu$$le popup shop, I met a hip hop blogger named Tommy. He told me about his process starting his website in 2009 and he encouraged me to start my own. I saw the pieces falling into place and finally decided to take action. I had come up with the name, “Beats Rhymes N Life,” two days before while listening to the Tribe. It fits perfectly with my life experiences and passions: spirituality, hip hop, and personal growth. As I wrote my first post, I found the distracting thoughts passing through inquiring what my blog was about, what format it should be written in, who the audience should be, etc. All the things I learned in marketing about having a target audience and general direction to move in had me feeling a little trapped. So instead of closing the computer like I’d done several times in the past, I decided to just do my best. I wrote a few paragraphs on the popup shop and posted it. Although I’m happy I began the blog, looking back on that post, I was reminded of what I had encouraged my best friend to do, tell the truth and let it flow.

So here’s the truth about that day:

When I first moved to LA, a friend of mine who used to live here would drive up from San Diego to come visit me. She’s wild, British, and obsessed with Nip$ey Hu$$le. She lived down in the 60’s neighborhood where Nip$ey grew up for a few years and loved driving down Crenshaw and Slauson bumping her music. She could not stop talking about this rapper that was taking over the west coast and took to me to the liquor store down in the 60’s to buy his mixtapes. As we were leaving, she told me how the liquor store had been shot up several times while she had been living down there. We stopped by Nip$ey’s clothing store and witnessed a crazed lady run in and start knocking all the “Crenshaw” apparel of the shelves screaming at the top of her lungs until she was restrained. It was only a twenty minute drive from my apartment in Hollywood, but it felt like a different world.

I’ve always been interested in other cultures, particularly in urban culture, as I grew up heavily into hip hop. As a kid, I remember listening to Pac’s “Changes,” over and over again, wondering how such pain and poverty could exist in such a prosperous country. I’ve always been interested in the dichotomy between the extreme wealth and extreme poverty present in urban music and culture. Being down in the 60’s neighborhood that day gave me a glimpse into the surroundings Nip$ey came up in, a place laden with fear, poverty, and violence.

Over the next several months, I had Nip$ey’s mixtapes on repeat, soaking up every word, vibing with his confidence and intellect. While attending a charity shoe giveaway at Crenshaw High School, I met a few other people that had grown up in the neighborhood and been heavily involved in that life. I learned how minuscule their school’s funding was compared to other districts, with kids lacking basic necessities like books and school supplies. I got an up close and personal look at how the system is stacked in some people’s favor, while others are left to fend for themselves. The more I learned, the more intrigued I became with Nip$ey, a true outlier in a community where all the odds were stacked against him.

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My View From Hollywood

Yesterday I went to Runyon Canyon to catch up with my girl Chantel. She brought along Lisa, a singer/rapper who just moved out to LA from Harlem a few days ago. Sitting on top of the mountain overlooking the city, we talked about leaving everything you know and are comfortable with in pursuit of your dreams. Many people advise you against it, and it is often accompanied by an internal battle as well. Do you take the “safe” 9-5 route in life or do you dare greatly and chase your dreams?

There is a magical essence common to all dreamchasers, a unique combination of passion and faith.

Sidenote: I was having trouble explaining the essence of dreamchasers properly, so I asked “what would You have me write?” I picked a stone from The Book of Runes, a book full of wisdom my best friend Jessi left at my house when she moved to Hawaii. Part of the passage accompanying the stone I picked read,

“On the side of human nature, this Rune is symbolized by the flight of the eagle, soaring flight free from entanglement, lifting yourself above the endless ebb and flow of ordinary life to acquire broader vision.”

It went on to say,

Perth counsels you neither to focus on outcomes nor to bind yourself with the memory of past achievements. In doing so, you rob yourself of a true present, the only time when self-change can be realized. You may feel overwhelmed with exhaustion from meeting obstruction after obstruction in your passage. Yet you always have a choice: You can see this apparent negativity as bad luck, or you can recognize it as an obstacle course, a challenge to the Initiation you are presently undergoing. Then each setback, each humiliation, becomes a test of character. When your inner being is shifting and reforming on a deep level, patience, constancy and perseverance are called for. So stay centered, see the humor, and keep your faith firm.”

This is the perfect explanation of a dreamchaser, someone who flies free above ordinary life, acquiring broader vision and deeper faith. Taking these leaps of faith and chasing after dreams can feel overwhelming, but everything you encounter is simply preparing you for your grandest vision for yourself and your life.

Seeing Lisa and Chantel vibing to “Enjoy My View From Hollywood,” from Kyle’s “Beautiful Loser” mixtape, I felt that dreamchaser essence. That energy, that passion, that faith that pulls you 3,000 miles from home with a suitcase and a dream, there’s nothing in the world like it.

The Marathon Continues


I stopped by the Nip$ey Hu$$Le popup shop yesterday to check out his collaboration with Young&Reckless for the “This is Crenshaw” collection. The merchandise was dope, but I was even more impressed by the line of kids wrapped around the block. Over a thousand people stood in the rain for hours to come support and show love.

Nip$ey has built such an authentic relationship with his fans, evidenced by the sold out Proud2Pay $100 mixtape he dropped late last year. He’s super intelligent and he’s shifting the culture with his independent “F the middleman” approach. Between Nip$ey, Karen Civil, and the Y&R team, the room was overflowing with creative genius. According to fans, it was well worth the wait.